Constraining Maximum Event Magnitude During Injection-Triggered Seismicity

Ziyan Li, Derek Elsworth, Chaoyi Wang, L. Boyd, Z. Frone, E. Metcalfe, A. Nieto, S. Porse, W. Vandermeer, R. Podgorney, H. Huang, T. McLing, G. Neupane, A. Chakravarty, P. Cook, P. Dobson, C. Doughty, Y. Guglielmi, C. Hopp, M. HuR. Jayne, S. Johnson, K. Kim, T. Kneafsey, S. Nakagawa, G. Newman, P. Petrov, J. Primo, M. Robertson, V. Rodriguez-Tribaldos, J. Rutqvist, M. Schoenball, E. Sonnenthal, F. Soom, S. Sprinkle, C. Ulrich, C. Valladao, T. Wood, Y. Zhang, Q. Zhou, L. Huang, Y. Chen, T. Chen, B. Chi, Z. Feng, L. Frash, K. Gao, E. Jafarov, S. Karra, N. Makedonska, D. Li, J. Li, R. Pawar, N. Welch, P. Fu, R. Mellors, C. Morency, J. Morris, C. Sherman, M. Smith, D. Templeton, J. Wagoner, J. White, H. Wu, J. Moore, S. Brown, D. Crandall, P. Mackey, T. Paronish, S. Workman, Bud Johnston, Koenraad Beckers, Jonathan Weers, Y. Polsky, M. Maceira, C. Chai, A. Bonneville, J. Burghardt, J. Horner, T. Johnson, H. Knox, J. Knox, B. Roberts, P. Sprinkle, C. Strickland, J. Thomle, V. Vermeul, M. White, D. Blankenship, M. Ingraham, T. Myers, J. Pope, P. Schwering, A. Foris, D. King, J. Feldman, M. Lee, J. Su, T. Baumgartner, J. Heise, M. Horn, B. Pietzyk, D. Rynders, G. Vandine, D. Vardiman, T. Doe, J. McLennan, Y. Wu, J. Miskimins, P. Winterfeld, K. Kutun, M. Zoback, A. Singh, R. Horne, K. Li, A. Hawkins, Y. Zhang, E. Mattson, K. Im, C. Marone, E. Yildirim, J. Ajo-Franklin, A. Ghassemi, D. Kumar, V. Sesetty, A. Vachaparampil, H. Wang, H. Sone, K. Condon, B. Haimson, W. Roggenthen, C. Medler, N. Uzunlar, C. Reimers, M. McClure

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus Citations


Understanding mechanisms controlling fluid injection-triggered seismicity is key in defining strategies to ameliorate it. Recent triggered events (e.g. Pohang, Mw 5.5) have exceeded predictions of average energy release by a factor of >1000x, necessitating robust methodologies to both define critical antecedent conditions and to thereby constrain anticipated event size. We define maximum event magnitudes resulting from triggering as a function of pre-existing critical stresses and fluid injection volume. Fluid injection experiments on prestressed laboratory faults confirm these estimates of triggered moment magnitudes for varied boundary conditions and injection rates. In addition, observed ratios of shear slip to dilation rates on individual faults signal triggering and may serve as a measurable proxy for impending rupture. This new framework provides a robust method of constraining maximum event size for preloaded faults and unifies prior laboratory and field observations that span sixteen decades in injection volume and four decades in length scale.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number1528
Number of pages9
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s).

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5700-79656


  • fluid injection
  • geophysics
  • natural hazards
  • seismicity


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